Has the age of file system storage come to an end? Don't delete your C drive yet, but in the cloud, at least, the future will likely be oriented around open source object-based storage. That's according to SwiftStack, which offers a storage solution based on the OpenStack Swift storage platform, and which this week highlighted the rapid growth of open source object storage for the cloud.

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

January 17, 2014

2 Min Read
OpenStack Swift Object Storage for the Cloud Grows

Has the age of file system storage come to an end? Don't delete your C drive yet, but in the cloud, at least, the future will likely be oriented around open source object-based storage. That's according to SwiftStack, which offers a storage solution based on the OpenStack Swift storage platform, and which this week highlighted the rapid growth of open source object storage for the cloud.

In contrast to traditional file systems, with their hierarchies and close integration with physical infrastructure, object storage aggregates data into standalone "objects" that can be abstracted away from underlying devices. The object-based approach provides more flexibility, scalability and, depending on how it is implemented, often faster performance.

In the age of the cloud and Big Data, when eeking every last bit of performance out of hardware and moving data seamlessly between different nodes are key priorities for the enterprise, object storage has a natural appeal. That was clear in 2013, according to SwiftStack, when Amazon's S3 platform saw 1 trillion objects uploaded in just 10 months. That reflected a major acceleration in object-storage adoption, since it had previously taken six years for the same number of objects to reach the Amazon cloud.

Other evidence of the growing importance of object storage in the cloud is its adoption by companies including Disney, Interactive, Concur and MercadoLibre, all of which are using Swift for their operations. So is Wikipedia, according to the SwiftStack.

Proprietary object-storage solutions exist, such as Microsoft's (MSFT) implementation in its Azure cloud. But the open source standards of Swift assure the software extra appeal, according to SwiftStack, because "the open source model has so completely and fundamentally transformed the infrastructure tier in the data center that not many proprietary infrastructure platform technologies have a sustainable advantage any longer." Enterprises have learned the dangers of proprietary lock-in in earlier eras of storage-technology development and prefer open source solutions going forward, the company said.

It's clear that object-based storage is here to stay. And given the evidence so far, it's a safe bet that OpenStack Swift, along with companies such as SwiftStack that offer storage solutions based on it, will play a key role in this niche as it continues to evolve.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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